Is Debate an Important Component of Growth?

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In this article, Amanda Setili explains why conflicting opinions are a necessary part of growth.

Back when I was applying for admission to Harvard Business School, one of the essays I had to complete was “when did you confront an ethical dilemma and how did you handle it?”

I remember being stuck on this question for quite a while, because as a young engineer, it seemed to me that every question had a correct answer. There are no ethical dilemmas, because once you find the right answer, everything is clear… or so I mistakenly thought.

Fortunately, I somehow managed to answer that essay question and get admitted. HBS quickly corrected my lack of understanding. Day after day, I sat in a classroom with 90 people who were all smart, and yet had completely different solutions to any given problem. Time after time, I thought: Wow. I would never have thought of what s/he just said.

The world, I learned, has many shades of gray.

These days, I worry whether too many businesses—and professionals—close themselves off from this sort of valuable learning. How many times in recent years have you sat in a room with other talented folks who think utterly differently than you do? How many times have you been encouraged to disagree and debate with your peers? My guess: not often.

 

Key points include:

  • Challenging consensus
  • Challenging bias
  • The value of different opinions

 

Read the full post, The Case for More Disagreements, on LinkedIn.